carrots - purple dragon

What IS in season in March

Whilst the high temperatures of last summer have receded under a blanket of snow,  the lack of rain, followed by a period of cold weather, has exacerbated the problems faced by our horticultural sector. Faced with higher costs for crops grown under glass, some retailers chose to rely more heavily on sourcing abroad, rather than investing in local growers. Some growers opted out last year, and others are not growing this year, “because they couldn't secure an increased price from the supermarkets to cover the increased cost of energy and fertiliser, and inputs that they needed in order to make a profit and make a living on the produce.” ( Recently more fluctuations in the weather have impacted on growers from abroad too, affecting the import of fruit and vegetables on which UK heavily depends (The UK produces over 50% of vegetables consumed domestically, but only 16% of fruit.)*

So what is available as seasonal BRITISH fruit and vegetables?

(Forced ) rhubarb is appearing. Onions and shallots, broccoli and cauliflower are generally available throughout March, together with green and savoy cabbage, spring greens, brussels sprouts, celeriac, chard, chicory, kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, seakale, spring onions. Crops grown under cover - mushrooms, rocket, leaf beet, oriental greens, winter salad leaves, plus stored vegetables like beetroot, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, swede and turnip. Eating and cooking apples are still available from cold store. ‘Wild’ food – young nettles, ramsons (wild garlic) hint of Spring to come.

Although not a substantial crop, microgreens are quick-growing (some ready in 10 days) to add zing to your sandwiches or pizazz to soups. Easily grown on a windowsill, they are cropped early full of nutrients and vitamins.

A winter stew recipe from Burpee Europe Ltd uses carrots, onions and  kale, tinned tomatoes and chickpeas.




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